1,300 pubs disappear as sector comes under intense cost pressures

Close to 1,300 pubs have been shut down or converted over the past year

CLOSE to 1,300 pubs have been shut down or converted over the past year as the industry suffers amid unprecedented cost pressures.

New research has found that 25 pubs in the UK have closed every week, with many being switched to alternative uses such as homes and offices.

Experts have said rising business rates, a property tax levied on firms, are partly to blame for the pub closures.

According to data from real estate adviser Altus Group, 1,292 pubs have disappeared from the high street, which also means they are not contributing to the Government's business rates pot.

Retailers and restaurant groups have been affected by similar cost pressures, and have been contending with wage increases, alongside a fall in footfall and consumer spending.

This has triggered a string of high-profile administrations within the sector.

Most recently, Gaucho group collapsed into administration, leading to the immediate closure of the Cau restaurant chain and the loss of more than 500 jobs.

Retailers including Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld have also been disappearing from the high street.

David Shuttleworth, vice president at Altus Group, said: "The sad reality is that more pubs will continue to call time unless further financial support is provided by the Government.

"The Chancellor should be bold within his autumn Budget later in the year by giving pubs a helping hand through an unprecedented stimulus of freezing rate rises in April 2019 whilst increasing the pub discount."

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